• September 7, 2016

Benin, a country situated in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, is surrounded by Togo to the west, by Nigeria to the east and by Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Though the capital of Benin is Porto-Novo the seat of government remains in Cotonou, the country’s leading city and economic capital.

Benin is situated in an area about 115,000 square kilometers (42,000 sq. mi) and the population is approximately 9.98 million. Benin is a country which is highly dependent on agriculture. The country has a great latent for tourism as it has an ironic cultural heritage, diverse scenery, and astonishing national parks.

Flourishing Economy

Economic activity has been risen in the country due to:

Increase in agricultural production due to the incentives given to farmers and due to the fortification of the governing framework for agricultural production and the distribution of inputs; and

An increase in port traffic following port modernization measures.

The economy of Benin remains reliant on existence agriculture and cotton. Cotton accounts for 40% of GDP and roughly 80% of official export receipts. There is also production of textiles, palm products, and cocoa beans.

Maize (corn), beans, rice, peanuts, cashews, pineapples, cassava, yams, and other various rhizomes are grown for local subsistence. Benin began producing offshore oil in October 1982. A modest fishing fleet offers fish and shrimp for local subsistence and export to Europe.

Agriculture and Fishing

Benin is mainly an agrarian country. More than 50%  of the total population is engaged in agriculture. Independent agrarians produce 90% of agricultural output, but only about 17% of the total area is cultivated.

There are many hindrance in the agricultural field like lack of infrastructure, poor utilization of rural credit, and inefficient and insufficient use of fertilizer, insecticides, and seeds. Around  20% of output is informally traded with Nigeria. Principle food crops are manioc, yams, corn, sorghum,  beans, rice, sweet potatoes, pawpaws, guavas, bananas, and coconuts. Benin is self-sufficient in food crops if weather is favorable.

Livestock include cattle, sheep and goats, pigs, horses, and poultry. Substantial measures of fish are caught annually in the lagoons and rivers, while coastal fishing produces a smaller, but growing amount. Most of the fish is distributed to Nigeria or Togo. Shrimp and deep-sea fishing are developing by using modern vessels.


Industries are there for several palm-oil-processing plants in Ahozon, Avrankou, Bohicon, Cotonou, Gbada, and Pobé. Cement plants at Onigbolo and Pobé, several cotton-ginning facilities in the north, a textile mill at Parakou, a sugar refining complex at Savé, a soft-drink plant, a brewery, and two shrimp-processing plants serve the basic need of the people residing there. Thermal plants positioned at Bohicon, Parakou, Cotonou, and Porto-Novo provide electricity to the industries. Half of Benin’s demand for electricity is encountered by importing power from Ghana’s Volta River Project at Akosombo. Industry accounts for only a small percentage of the gross domestic product but can be established on a large scale. Fishing industry fulfills only local consumption, so does textile industry.

Palm processing facility needs improving. Apart from limestone found in open quarry at ONIGBOLO, deposits of gold, phosphates, iron ore, marble, clay, are yet to be explored. The growth of off- shore fields at SEME and elsewhere are ongoing. A Benin/Togo hydroelectric power has just been accomplished on the Mono River (the NANGBETO dam). There are attractive industrial projects and probability studies are accessible for some of them.


Benin’s export earnings is reliant on agricultural products, such as cotton, palm oil, cocoa, and coffee, exported to such countries as Portugal, Italy, France, Thailand, Taiwan, and the United States. One of Benin’s main though underexploited, trade assets is the deepwater port at Cotonou, which serves as a sea outlet for the Republic of Niger and as a secondary port for Nigeria and thus holds a potential to earn profitable customs duties.

Benin habitually imports various manufactured products, machinery, chemicals, beverages, and tobacco, as well as cereals.

American companies are unswervingly endorsing and intensely cheering the Benin Government. There can be joint ventures between Benin private sector and American companies to carry out industrial undertakings such as canning, paper processing units, glass manufacturing, salt processing units, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, clothing, palm oil, building materials, chemicals and any other items reflective of an industrial developing nation.

The private sector is in fact in a good position to exploit the country’s potential mainly agricultural, to the full, and its development is essential for Benin’s integration into global value chains (GVCs).

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